5 storylines for Game 2 of the World Series
KC bullpen threw more innings in Game 1 on Tuesday than entire '85 Fall Classic
1. For starters
The Royals used seven pitchers in the course of their 5-4, 14-inning victory against the New York Mets in Game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night. Kansas City is looking for the franchise's first World Series championship since 1985, and the second in team history.
The 2015 Royals are taking a different approach. Those 1985 Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game World Series. Kansas City only had seven pitchers on its World Series roster, and one of them (Mark Gubicza) did not pitch.
The Royals' four World Series starters in 1985 combined to work 55 2/3 of the 62 innings in that seven-game series. Bret Saberhagen went the distance in both of his starts, which included an 11-0 shutout in Game 7, and Charlie Leibrandt worked 16 1/3 innings in two starts. Danny Jackson pitched 16 innings in his two starts. Bud Black started Game 4 and went 5 1/3 innings.
Black also made a relief appearance but didn't retire a batter. Closer Dan Quisenberry appeared in four games and pitched 4 1/3 innings. The only other pitcher to appear for the Royals in that World Series was Joe Beckwith, who worked two innings in one appearance.
The 6 2/3 innings that the Royals' bullpen pitched during the seven-game 1985 World Series was 1 1/3 innings fewer than Kansas City's relievers worked in Game 1.
With Edinson Volquez's six-inning effort on Tuesday, the Royals' starting pitchers have worked 61 innings in 12 games so far this postseason, for an average of just more than five innings per start. The 1985 rotation was one out shy of having averaged eight innings per start against the Cardinals.
2. Second thoughts
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy has been the talk of the postseason. A potential free agent this offseason, he has hit seven home runs -- one shy of tying the postseason record. Even more impressive is that Murphy -- one of seven players to have hit seven or more home runs in a single postseason -- has done it in only 10 games.
The record of eight home runs was set by Barry Bonds in 17 games with the 2002 Giants, then matched by Carlos Beltran in 12 games with the '04 Astros and Nelson Cruz in 17 games with the '11 Rangers.
Murphy, who turns 31 next April 1, has hit safely in all 10 postseason games, and he's driven in at least one run in eight of the 10 games. The left-handed hitter has also played first, third and left field in the Majors.
Murphy, however, isn't the only second baseman on the October stage who is enhancing his pending free-agent market. Ben Zobrist of the Royals has hit .347 this postseason, including going 3-for-6 with two doubles and a run scored in the Royals' 5-4, 14-inning Game 1 victory against the Rangers.
Zobrist will turn 35 in May, but he offers plenty of versatility for an interested team. He's a switch-hitter who has played all four infield positions and all three outfield positions during his career.
3. Johnny be good
Potential free agent Johnny Cueto has had his struggles since the Royals acquired him from the Reds before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. A strong start or two in the World Series, however, would do a lot to raise Cueto's stock before he enters the open market.
Cueto was 4-7 with the Royals during the regular season: 3-3 at Kauffman Stadium and 1-4 on the road. And in the postseason, he won both of his American League Division Series starts against Houston at Kauffman Stadium, including allowing two runs in eight innings of the clinching win in Game 5. His lone start in the AL Championship Series was in Toronto, and he gave up eight runs in two-plus innings.
That's why Royals manager Ned Yost decided to pitch Cueto in Game 2 and a potential Game 6. Both will be played at Kauffman Stadium.
Look behind the aggregate numbers in assessing Cueto against the Mets. Lifetime, he is 3-4 with a 4.02 ERA vs. New York. In the past four years, however, Cueto has gone 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA against them, and four of his five outings in the past three years against the Mets have been quality starts.
4. On the road
Nothing has changed for the Mets -- other than an emotional loss in Game 1 of the World Series. The Royals have the home-field advantage, so that means the Mets -- even if they were to sweep the games at Citi Field -- have to win at least one game on the road.
The Mets have handled themselves well on the road this year, both during the regular season and in the postseason. They are 4-2 on the road this postseason, sweeping the Cubs in four games in the National League Championship Series (two on the road) and closing out the best-of-five NL Division Series with the Dodgers with a Game 5 win at Dodger Stadium. They also won the series opener at Dodger Stadium.
The Mets were 41-40 on the road in the regular season -- one of eight Major League teams with a winning road record. The Cubs were 48-33, followed by the Rangers, Cardinals and Pirates at 45-36, the Royals at 44-37, the Yankees and Indians at 42-39, and then the Mets.
The Mets were 17th in Major League Baseball and seventh in the NL with 683 runs scored, and they ranked tied for third in the NL with 177 home runs during the regular season.
The Mets led the NL and were third in the Major Leagues with 370 runs scored on the road, and they led the NL and ranked fifth in the Majors with 92 home runs on the road.
5. Big O for KC
Kauffman Stadium is considered a pitcher's park, and the Royals are known for the depth of their bullpen. This postseason, though, Kansas City became an offensive machine.
The Royals have scored 68 runs in 12 postseason games. Their 5.7 runs-per-game average is a full run better than the Blue Jays and the Mets. The Astros (four runs per game) and Cardinals (4.3) were the only other teams among the 12 that qualified for postseason to reach the 4.0 mark.
The Rangers averaged 3.8, the Dodgers and Cubs were at 3.6, and the Yankees and Pirates were each blanked in Wild Card Game losses.
What's more, the Royals have hit a postseason-best 17 home runs. The Mets, even with seven home runs from Murphy, have 15 in total.